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Manufacturing company John Deere has remotely deactivated its tractors after Russian troops stole them.
CNN reports that Russian armed forces stole US$5 million worth of grain, tractors and harvesting machines from Melitopol in southeastern Ukraine.
The equipment was reportedly stolen from an Argotek distributor and moved 800 kilometres away by Russian troops planning to send the machinery out to Chechnya.
However, shortly after landing, the soldiers tried to start the equipment only to realise they weren’t working after John Deere disabled them.
An anonymous source told CNN that soldiers were trying to crack the digital locks to reactivate the tractors.
The source revealed: “When the invaders drove the stolen harvesters to Chechnya, they realised that they could not even turn them on because the harvesters were locked remotely."
It’s no surprise that the Illinois-based manufacturing company has disabled its equipment to keep Russian troops out, as in March, John Deere announced they were suspending shipments to Russia and Belarus following the invasion.
They wrote: “John Deere is deeply saddened by the significant escalation of events in Ukraine.
“The safety, welfare, and well-being of our employees in the region remains our top priority, and we continue to support and maintain close communication with our affected teams, providing necessary resources when possible.”
However, this isn’t the only reported incident of Russian troops stealing farm machines.
Ukraine’s ombudswoman for human rights Lyudmyla Denisova revealed recorded incidents of Russian armed forces stealing agricultural equipment date as far back as March.
She disclosed in a Facebook post earlier this month: “The first cases of theft of equipment were recorded in mid-March. Later, with the help of GPS services, the equipment was found in the Republic of Chechnya.”
Denisova also accused Russian troops of stealing farm equipment and targeting grain warehouses to elicit famine in the country.
Ukraine's Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotsky shared that 400,000 tonnes of grain occupying Ukraine regions had also been stolen, raising fears of a food crisis developing, according to Interfax-Ukraine.
He confirmed that many of these thefts had occurred in the Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson regions.
Vysotsky said: “Such behavior is alarming. But a similar situation could happen with a new crop. As a result, there may be a physical shortage of food to feed Ukrainians in these territories, and this is a threat of hunger.”
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